Jordanian Royal Film Commission managing director Mohannad Al-Bakri will be fêted during the Berlin Film Festival by the Arab Cinema Center with its Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award.
The award honors prominent industry figures who have “helped elevate the Arab film industry in the eyes of the international filmmaking community as a whole,” a statement said. The Arab Cinema Center – which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – is an umbrella group that serves as a catalyst for the Arab industry at top festivals and film markets around the world.
Al-Bakri started out at Jordan‘s RFC in 2007 as a capacity-building manager and rapidly rose to the role of managing director in 2009. Since then, he has spearheaded the commission’s funding and training programs and built local crew capacity in the leadup to the inauguration of Jordan’s first dedicated film studio complex, Olivewood Film Studios, which in 2023 officially opened for business in the kingdom’s capital city of Amman.
Hollywood movies partly shot in Jordan under Al-Bakri’s RFC watch comprise Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” and, more recently, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and both installments of “Dune,” to name a few. A Middle East region gala launch of “Dune: Part Two” is expected to take place at Olivewood Film Studios at the end of February.
However, Al-Bakri has also been instrumental in helping local filmmakers gain traction, as noted by Arab Cinema Center co-founders Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab who praised his “noteworthy efforts to advance the Jordanian film industry.” As evidence, they cited the success of Jordanian director Amjad Al Rasheed’s tense social drama “Inshallah A Boy,” which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2023 Cannes’ Critics Week and has won prizes and travelled widely on the festival circuit.